We hiked Kaena Point when my daughter and her friend came to visit.  There is a huge rock nearby that is called the Pohaku o Kauai, the “rock of Kauai”.  If you believe the legends, and I’m tending to believe them more and more (all except the Menehune Legend), then Ka’ena Point and the Pohaku o Kauai both got their names from one tragic incident that happened on a dark, stormy night off of the Oahu Coast many, many years ago…

(Cue the scary, chanting music!)

So, there was a baby born one night.

It was stormy night.  I mean, like really stormy.  The lightning went flash and the thunder went boom.  The legend says that it rained so hard that it was the red soil from the mountains into the waterfalls and streams of low land to make them appear as if they were blood.


A rainbow appeared over the house that the baby was born in (yes, during the storm) and it was even there the next day.  Obviously, the nearby people thought that the baby must be special.  And he was.

The child’s name was Haupa and he grew to be strong and brave.  Like, strong, strong.  Like Hercules and massive-super powers Marvel superhero strong. Well, you get the picture…

Anyway, Haupa had a nasty temper, too.  So while you wanted him on your side in a fight you did not want to spill his drink at the bar.

How Kaena and the Rock of Kauai got its name

Please Note: This not the actual incident and that is the Hulk, not Haupa.
Please Note: This not the actual incident and that is the Hulk, not Haupa.

There was an Oahu chief that organized a fishing party. His name was Ka’ena.  On another night later on down the road of history, this night was stormy too, he and a bunch of villagers got into canoes and set course for the splendid fishing waters off of Oahu and towards Kauai with torches blazing.

Now, Haupa was sleeping (evidently on Kauai) and according to the legend, when he awoke to see the torches and noise in the storm waters, he mistook them for a war party that was coming to attack his people.

In my opinion, it would seem that Haupa was both half-asleep and half-drunk…but I don’t know.  I wasn’t there.  Seems plausible, though.

So, Haupa defends his people by throwing a huge boulder at the boats and the torches.  Chief Ka’ena dies and the boulder winds up on the coast of Oahu.  The forces of the boulder hit the water so hard that it threw huge amounts of sand on to the northwestern portion of Oahu creating a point that jutted into the water.

rock of kauai

So, the villagers who survived called the area “Kaena Point” and the rock, of course, the Rock of Kauai.

But wait!  There’s more.  You get TWO Kaena Point Legends for the Price of One!

There’s another Legend that says the Rock of Kauai was left over from when the demi god, Maui, was trying to join all of the Islands together as one.  He failed, obviously, but like static cling and that rogue sock in pants draw after laundry, the rock of Kauai still remains on Oahu and Kaena Point to this day.


  1. Kia Orana Ken Honu, it is si interesting to know there is a Kaena in Hawaii I just wondering if this Kaena is related to My Kaena in Rarotonga Cook island which that Kaena lives on the west of Hawaii and my Kaena live on the west side of the island Village called AROA which he owns this whole Village part of Main village called Arorangi he owns Aroa from the sea to the mountains also known some areas called from the lagoon as Kaena Point and his mark is the a Bird call Kotaa as know the hurricane Bird And his Marae call TE ARE TAU AS MY FAMILY TREE start to this Tupuna name Kaena Taupe AS KNOW BY HIS PEOPLE he is a king on his own village as to day known as Kaena Tipokoroa Utia Mataioa Tutara today he has given his 4th Son to be the Komono for his Kaena Titel which is me, ready the history of Haupa son of the chief Kaena of Hawaii as menstion he left the island and never been seen again.So it ask me the question is my Kaena is th same relation to this KAENA as we are the son that left Hawaii with the shame of what has happen long time ago which I really like to make contact to the member of the Kaena family I very much like to get in touch with this family for a reunion as I will be soon around November 2015 the next titel holder for Kaena here in cook island Rarotonga if this happens this will complete were I really come from Meitaki Maata Kia Orana e kia Manuia
    Kaena Taramana Utia

  2. Kaena Point is more than a haunted landscape; it s a gathering space of spiritual forces. Hawaiians have long held it to be one of their most sacred places, both because of its significance in the soul s journey and as the site where mortals make the final leap into the realm the gods.

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